String Project Faculty, after Fall Concert 2013

Behind every great teacher, there’s another great teacher

2018 – 2019 String Project Faculty

Dr. Laurie Scott

String Project Director

Dr. Scott with studentLaurie Scott is Associate Professor of Music and Human Learning at The University of Texas at Austin. Additionally, she serves as the director of The University of Texas String Project and the Musical Lives string program at UT Elementary School. As a university professor she has received both the Teaching Excellence Award from the School of Music and from the College of Fine Arts at The University of Texas at Austin. A former middle and high school orchestra director, she now mentors young professionals toward successful lives as string educators.  She is co-author with William Dick of the textbooks, Mastery for Strings, Level One and Two, and Learning Together: Sequential Repertoire for Solo Strings or String Ensembles, co-authored with William Dick and Winfred Crock. Her publication, From the Stage to the Studio: How Fine Performers become Great Teachers, is co-authored with Cornelia Watkins. In every facet of her teaching Dr. Scott serves as an advocate for inclusive and diverse music classrooms, adult music learners, and access to quality music instruction for children in underserved communities. She is a registered teacher trainer for the Suzuki Association of the Americas and continues to maintain a private violin studio. Her former students have become exemplary string educators, professional studio and symphony musicians, and passionate arts advocates.

Courtney Castaneda, cello

Assistant Director 

14918850_1243784725667148_4752685939337971172_oCourtney Castañeda is the Orchestra Director at the University of Texas Elementary School (Little Longhorn Orchestra), and also works for the UT Austin String Project and the Center for Music Learning. She holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in both cello performance and psychology from the University of California, Davis and a Master of Music degree in cello performance from Sacramento State University where she was a teacher in the Sacramento State String Project.  Most recently, she completed her Master of Music degree in Music and Human Learning from the University of Texas, Austin, and also earned her k-12 teaching certification. A native Texan, Courtney began playing violin and cello thanks to her public elementary school in Houston, and is a strong supporter of public school music education. She taught privately for seven years in northern California, coached chamber music for the Sacramento Youth Symphony’s Summer Chamber Music Workshop, and played in music festivals in Paris and Eisenstadt. Before moving to Austin, Courtney was the Operations Manager for the Sacramento School of Music, and served as the Business Administrator for the Suzuki Music Institute of Dallas for two years. She has received Suzuki Cello Teacher Training from Carey Cheney (Book 1) and Tanya Carey (Books 2-6), and Suzuki in the Schools training from Dr. Laurie Scott.  Courtney is also a cellist in the Austin based orchestral folk band, American Dreamer.

Rylie Harrod, cello

Rylie HarrodOffice Manager

Rylie Harrod began her musical studies in New England (South Berwick, Maine) studying violin at the age of 3, and starting cello at the age of 5, learning both instruments through the Suzuki method. At age 7, she ultimately decided to choose the cello because she truly loved it and she would always get to sit down! Rylie participated in youth programs at the New England Conservatory Preparatory Program, the Boston Youth Symphony, and the Walnut Hill School. She later continued onwards to earn her Bachelor of Music degree from the Royal Academy of Music, London, UK, and her Master of Music degree from Arizona State University where she was Thomas Landschoot’s teaching assistant. Rylie is currently pursuing her Doctorate of Musical Arts degree at the University of Texas, Austin, studying with Joshua Gindele of the Miro Quartet. She is currently the Principal Cellist of the Waco Symphony Orchestra, she is an active freelancer in the Austin area, and she is also a substitute player for the San Antonio Symphony. Rylie loves good food, practicing yoga, and going on adventures with her violinist fiance and their very silly dog, Moe-Bear.

Anthony Mariano, guitar

Guitar Coordinator20161029-Teachers2Chris-11

Growing up in New Mexico, Anthony Mariano has been recognized as a premiere guitarist in the Albuquerque area, receiving the position of Concertmaster for the second annual New Mexico All-State Guitar Ensemble in 2011. Anthony finished his Bachelor’s degree at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music in 2105 under the instruction of David Tanenbaum, where he had the opportunity to work with some of the world’s finest guitarists. He was chosen by the faculty in 2013 to perform in the school’s annual Guitarrada, an event featuring music played on some of the world’s finest historical guitars. Currently, Anthony is a member of graduate program at the University of Texas Butler School of Music under the instruction of Adam Holzman.

Anthony strongly believes that music is an invaluable part of life, and he takes great pleasure in teaching that art to people of all ages. His primary goal as a classical guitar teacher is to provide his students with the ability to connect and interact with what they feel, and to provide them with the opportunity to share that experience with others. As both a private instructor and an ensemble conductor, Anthony tries to instill in his students an appreciation for both music, and the process of working hard, focusing, and interacting well with others in a group.

Augie Gmitter, bass

Ashley Wang, cello

Ashley Wang is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Music in Music Studies with a Recognition in Cello Performance at the University of Texas at Austin under Professor Bion Tsang. She started her cello studies at age 8 with Eleonora Lopez, and later her husband, Emmanuel Lopez when she started high school. In addition to cello, she has been studying piano since she was four and a half years old.
Ashley is equally passionate about performing and teaching music. She has started teaching cello and piano private lessons since 2015. Ashley has recently completed training for Suzuki book 1 in cello with Dr. Alice Ann O’Neill at DFW WOW. She strongly believes in encouraging her students to become the best they can be in a healthy and productive learning environment.
Ashley has played in Lab orchestra, University Orchestra, and Symphony Orchestra at UT Austin. She is heavily involved in chamber music and has founded her own string quartet, string trio, and most recently, founded the Pastel Trio in 2016. She has worked closely with Maestro Dr. Mark Bartley, played in masterclasses with Madeleine Kabat and Kenneth Freudigman, and received coachings from the Harrington String Quartet and Miró String Quartet. She has also performed with the Chamber Music Amarillo Virtuosi Orchestra alongside Professor Jeffrey Lastrapes. In May 2016, she toured with the WTAMU Symphony Orchestra in Prague, Vienna, and Budapest as assistant principal cellist. Ashley loves to cook, eat good food, and go on adventures with her friends and family.

Catherine Kline, intern



Clara Li, viola


Clara Li is currently pursuing her Doctor of Musical Arts degree in viola performance at the University of Texas at Austin under the tutelage of Professor Roger Myers. She received her Masters degree from the College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati, and her Bachelor of Arts in Music degree from The Chinese University of Hong Kong, as a viola major and piano minor. Her major teachers include Masao Kawasaki, Catharine Carroll Lees, Joseph Ho Pang Kam and Ricardo Zwietisch. Her orchestral excerpt coaches are Timothy Lees, Denisse Rodriguez and Rebecca Barnes from the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. She has also worked with Robert Vernon, Yu Sun, Keitaro Harada and Danielle Farina in masterclasses.

Being an active chamber musician, Clara was invited as a guest artist to participate in the Vianden Music Festival in Luxembourg. Her past summer appearances included Aspen Music Festival, Eastern Music Festival and Summa Cum Laude Music Festival. She has also toured with the Hong Kong Youth Symphony Orchestra and Hong Kong Youth Strings and performed at Shanghai Expo as well as in Vienna and Prague. She has studied Chamber Music with the Miró Quartet, the Ariel Quartet and Professor Lee Fiser from the Lasalle Quartet.

Clara is enthusiastic about teaching. She began teaching piano and being an accompanist when she was in middle school. After entering college, she has also started teaching violin classes and private lessons. She had experiences working with students with different age groups and backgrounds.

Clara Suh, violin



Corina Santos, violin

Corina is a violinist and music educator from Austin, TX and is a student at the University of Texas at Austin, where she is completing her final year of undergraduate study under professor Sandy Yamamoto. Recently, she completed a year-long teaching assistantship in the San Francisco Bay Area with violinist Elbert Tsai. Corina has held the position of Assistant Principal Second Violin with the University of Texas Symphony Orchestra and the Butler Opera Center, and has also performed as a substitute with the Round Rock and Temple Symphony Orchestras. She has worked with acclaimed violinists and teachers such as David Kim, Laurie Smukler, Danielle Belen, Sally O’Reilly, pianist Rohan de Silva, and members of the Miró Quartet. As an avid teacher, she has served on the faculty of the Music Mission San Francisco and the University of Texas String Project, teaching early childhood music, theory, orchestra sectionals, and group and private violin lessons. Corina’s passion for teaching comes from the belief that students learn best when they are supported, encouraged, and challenged, and she strives to provide experiences for her students that bring them joy.


Cory Blais, cello











20161029-Teachers2Chris-60Daniel Kopp, cello

Cadet Coordinator







David Saccardi, bass

David Saccardi is a PhD student in Music and Human Learning at The University of Texas at Austin, where he teaches in the UT String Project in addition to his doctoral studies and research.  He holds a Bachelors in Music Education and a Bachelors in Double Bass Performance from Colorado State University, and a Masters Degree in Music Education from the University of Michigan.  He is an active adjudicator and clinician, having worked with orchestras in Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, Michigan, and Texas, as well as presenting at the state MEA conferences in Colorado and Wyoming.  He has also been published in the journal of the American String Teachers Association.

Prior to coming to Texas, David taught middle school and high school orchestra in Loveland, Colorado, where during his tenure, the program grew to over 300 students and received numerous awards and Superior marks at state contest.  Additionally, the orchestras from Loveland High School were recognized at the state level for both their academic achievements by the Colorado High School Activities Association, and for their excellence in musical theatre performance for the pit orchestra’s production of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

David has been an avid performer and teacher of the double bass for nearly twenty years.  Before moving to Austin, David performed with the Fort Collins Symphony Orchestra, the Greeley Philharmonic, the Steamboat Springs Symphony Orchestra, and served as Principal Double Bass of the Cheyenne (Wyoming) Symphony Orchestra.  He has also trained numerous young bassists, many of whom have been selected as Colorado Allstate Principal Bassist, and others still who have received scholarships to pursue musical study at the university level.

David lives in Austin with his wife, Claire, and their Golden Retriever, Harper.  Together, they enjoy traveling, cooking, being dog parents, being outdoors, and tacos.  Mostly tacos.


Elizabeth Sullivan, bass

Elizabeth Sullivan is currently pursuing her Master’s Degree in Music & Human Learning from UT’s Butler School of Music. She received her BFA from Berklee College of Music in 2014, majoring in Music Education. Upon graduation, she moved from her native Boston to Austin to pursue a career in elementary music education as well as perform with a variety of musical groups including her band, Mamahawk. Her primary instrument is the String Bass, having 13+ years of performance experience.
In addition to bass performance, Liz is also proficient on a variety of brass, woodwind, string, and percussion instruments.


Hailey Walterman, viola

Violist Hailey Walterman holds degrees from the University of Texas at Austin and Azusa Pacific University. Currently she is pursuing her Doctoral degree as the teaching assistant of Roger Myers at the University of Texas at Austin. She has participated in various masterclasses with the Takaćs, Tokyo, and Miró Quartets, along with accomplished violinists Vijay Gupta, Ingrid Chun, Lorenz Gamma, and Laurie Smukler.

As a chamber musician, Walterman has shared the stage with the acclaimed Midori Goto and the Jerusalem Quartet. Her festival appearances include the Montecito International Music Festival, the Next Festival of Emerging Young Artists, and Mastereorks Festival in Zhengzhou, China. In addition to performing, Walterman has an immense passion for teaching and holds teaching positions at the University of Texas at Austin String Project, Concordia University, and the Austin Montessori School.

Without her viola in hand, Hailey is a certified yoga instructor and loves to practice yoga and cook for her friends.

Henry Johnston, guitar

Henry Johnston, born in 1997, began studying guitar at the age of 6 with his father, Alan Johnston.

In 2009 he won second place in the Guitar Foundation of America’s International Guitar Competition, in the junior division. In April of 2011, Henry performed at the Fitzgerald Theatre in his hometown of St Paul, Minnesota as one of five winners of MN Varsity, Minnesota Public
Radio’s 1st annual competition for young classical singers and instrumentalists. Later that same month, Henry became the youngest guitarist ever to win first prize in the Schubert Club Competition in St. Paul, at the age of 14.

In 2013, Henry was a finalist in the senior division of the Guitar Foundation of America International Competition in Louisville, KY and in September of that year, he appeared on NPR’s “From the Top,”broadcast from the National Music Museum in Vermillion, SD.

In October of 2016, he won first prize in the Texas A&M International Guitar Competition, and was a finalist in the Indiana Guitar Competition. In March of 2017, he won second prize in the Florida
Guitar Foundation guitar competition. In April of 2018, he was selected by the University of Texas System Board of Regents as a recipient of the Regents’ Outstanding Student Awards in Arts and

Henry’s past teachers include Alan Johnston, John Holmquist, and Judicael Perroy. He is an active chamber musician and has performed frequently with the MacPhail Guitar Quartet, which has been featured on television and radio. Henry currently resides in Austin, Texas where he studies under Adam Holzman at the University of Texas. He plays a guitar made by the French luthier Hugo Cuvilliez.

Jackson Hocott, bass



Jamey Strauss, intern

Jamey Strauss is going to be in his first year as an undergraduate Music Studies major studying under Sandy Yamamoto. He graduated from Lake Travis High School in the Fall of 2018, being a member of the Lake Travis High School orchestra under the direction of Anna Macias. Jamey was also a participating member in the String Project for six years. During high school, Jamey was a very active chamber music player, being a part of the Chamber Music in Public Schools program, CHAMPS, for five years under the direction of Toby Blumenthal. Jamey also played western swing music in the Lake Travis Fiddlers for five years, as well as in the honky tonk band The Rewinders. Jamey took private lessons under Dr. Paula Bird for nine years, and was a teacher’s assistant for her group classes for young students in her studio.




Jen McKeeman, viola

Jennifer McKeeman is pursuing her Masters in Music and Human Learning from the University of Texas at Austin. She holds a Batchelor of Music in Music Education from the University of Texas at Austin where she had the privilege to study viola with Roger Myers and music education with Dr. Laurie Scott and Dr. Robert Duke. 

A native Austinite, Jennifer began playing viola in sixth grade in South Austin. She owes her inspiration to become a music teacher to the incredible music directors and private lessons teachers that she had studied with while in public school orchestra. Jennifer has taught privately in the Austin and San Antonio areas since 2010 with a broad range of ages and experience levels. She has had the honor of attending various summer music festivals including the Sewanee Summer Music Festival, Marrowstone Music Festival, and the Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival. 

Most recently, Jennifer was the Orchestra Director at David Lee “Tex” Hill Middle School in San Antonio, TX for four years. Jennifer started when the school first opened, building the orchestra and fifth grade strings programs from the ground up. The Tex Hill Orchestras have earned consistent UIL Sweepstakes in addition to multiple “Best in Class” and “Overall Outstanding” honors in festivals held in New Braunfels, TX and Corpus Christi, TX.

Jennifer is thrilled to be back in her hometown doing what she loves: teaching and studying music. Her philosophy that any child can and should play music with excellence and joy is behind all of her teaching moments. In her spare time, Jennifer enjoys writing, seeing live music, and spending time with friends and family.


Jillian Johnson, violin

11755785_883145731731809_4796826587005666943_nViolinist Jillian Johnson, 19, a recent graduate of Interlochen Arts Academy (IAA), currently studies at the University of Texas at Austin with Brian Lewis and the Miró Quartet under full scholarship. Jillian has performed in several ensembles and venues across the United States, including the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center, the DiMenna Center for Classical Music, and the Smith Center for Performing Arts. She has placed in the American Protege International Concerto Competition and the AADGT International Chamber Competition. A fan of contemporary music, Jillian has premiered compositions by Jennifer Higdon, Andrew Boss, Nico Muhly, Hannah Lash, Ashley Fure, and Mason Bates. She performed for IAA in the 2016 New York Philharmonic Biennial and collaborated with contemporary ensemble eighth blackbird. She served as concertmaster for the premiere of “The Three Musketeers” by Michael Thurber on From The Top Live with Christopher O’Riley. Over recent summers, she has attended the Interlochen Arts Camp, Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival, and Center Stage Strings. She received her Violin Unit 1 Suzuki Training at the Los Angeles Suzuki Institute in 2017 with Ann Montzka-Smelser, and Violin Unit 2 with Dr. Laurie Scott. Formed in 2017, Jillian performs chamber music in a Piano Trio. When she’s not performing or teaching, Jillian enjoys reading, painting, and cooking.

Joanna Ross, cello



Laura Aldana, intern, cello 

Cellist Laura Vanessa Aldana is a native of Bogota, Colombia. She started her music education at the age of 6 at the Bogota Foundation Youth Symphony Orchestra.

In 2009 she joined the Pre Conservatory program at the National University of Colombia where she studied with Diego Garcia. She was awarded full scholarship during the eight years that she studied there. For four years she was part of the Youth Orchestra of the conservatory, where she was the principal of the cello section. In 2016, Laura moved to the United States to join the Pre-Conservatory Program at Shattuck-St. Mary’s School where she studied with Professor Tanya Remenikova at the University of Minnesota.

Laura Aldana has been awarded full scholarships to attend a number of Music festivals including the Intentional Cello Institute at St. Olaf College (2017-2018), Bravo! Summer String Music Camp held at Shattuck School (2017), the 2016 Esmeraldas International Music festival (Ecuador), among others. She won Honorable Mention at the Thursday musical competition, she played as one of the finalist of the Young People’s Symphony Orchestra Association (YPSCA) held by the Minnesota Orchestra and she was awarded a special music grant by the Schubert Club Organization.

Laura will continue her music studies with Prof. Bion Tsang at the Butler School of Music at the University of Texas at Austin. Laura has performed in master classes for Emmanuel Feldman, Mark Kosower, Kurt Baldwin, Bruce Uchimura, Silver Ainomae, Anthony Ross, Peter Schmidt, Francisco Vila, Horacio Contreras, among others.

Luciano Monaco, guitar

Luciano Monaco, born in Campobasso (Italy) in 1990, started his classical guitar studies at the Conservatorio “L.

Perosi” in Campobasso tutored by Pasqualino Garzia. He accomplished the ten-year course of study in seven years, graduating with honors under the tutelage of Alessandro Paris. Then, Luciano achieved his Master of Arts in Music Performance at Conservatorio della Svizzera Italiana in Lugano tutored by Lorenzo Micheli and attended the masterclass at Chigiana Academy in Siena in Oscar Ghiglia’s studio.


He has played solo recitals in Europe and the United States and has received top prizes in international competitions. In 2017, Luciano completed the Graduate Diploma at the New England Conservatory in Boston with Eliot Fisk and Jerome Mouffe. He is now pursuing his Doctor of Musical Arts at University of Texas at Austin in Adam Holzman’s studio.



Madalyn Marabella, violin

Violin Graduation

Madalyn has lived in Austin, Texas all her life and has played violin since she was seven years old. She is currently a freshman at the University of Texas at Austin where she studies Spanish and Business. During middle school and high school, she played in her school orchestras and participated in Solo and Ensemble, TSSEC, and All-Region Orchestra. She also composed three original pieces for her high school orchestra, which she conducted at their spring concert. In 9th grade, she helped found a music group that played weekly at assisted living homes. Madalyn attended string project in elementary school and is very excited to be back.





Ray Kim, cello




A native of South Korea, Kim was the 1st prize winner in the Korean Music Concours and 3rd prize winner in the Pho-Ne Classic Competition. He was also the winner of the Eastman School of Music Cello Competition, the Cleveland Institute of Music Competition, and the Cobb Symphony Young Artist Competition. At the age of fifteen, he was invited to play with the Seoul Royal Symphony Orchestra at the Young-San Art Hall. He holds degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music and Eastman School of Music. Festival appearances include Banff, Colorado College, Caroga, Pacific, and Festival Mozaic.




Rebecca Lester, viola & violin

Rebecca Lester is a musician and teacher currently based in the Austin area, performing chamber music and orchestral repertoire as well as freelancing regularly. Originally from Southern California, Rebecca earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Viola Performance from Azusa Pacific University, studying with Jonathan Moerschel of the Calder Quartet. She is in her final year of a Master’s degree in Viola Performance at UT Austin, studying with Roger Myers. Rebecca currently holds a position in the Round Rock Symphony as a section violist. Her performance credits include appearances at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Zipper Hall at The Colburn School, The Egg Performing Arts Center in Albany, NY, the Felix Event Center with the group 2Cellos, and more.

Rebecca is an active viola and violin teacher and has completed Suzuki teacher training courses for violin books 1-3 and the Viola Overview 1-3 course. She believes strongly in creating a positive and productive teaching environment that also challenges the student to their best potential. She gives special attention to creating the best posture and tone for healthy musical development.

Ruben Balboa, viola & violin

Ruben Balboa III, violist, is an active chamber musician, recitalist, and educator in the Austin area.  In 2017, Balboa made his Bass Hall solo debut at the Festival of the Orchestras hosted by the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra and participated in the Montecito International Music Festival. 

Balboa has recently performed with the Dallas Opera, Las Colinas Symphony, Round Rock Symphony, Mid-Texas Symphony, San Angelo Symphony and has performed and recorded with artists such as The Antiques, Andres Cardenas, Celtic Thunder, Evanescence, Josh Groban, Lena Hall, Eugene Rousseau, Lindsey Stirling, Yizhak Schotten, Brooke Waggoner, and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. 

While studying for his masters degree, he performed with the Bancroft String Quartet, an elite graduate ensemble at the University of North Texas, where they placed as a semi-finalist in the Plowman Chamber Music Competition and Festival.   Other past achievements include: Texas State Concerto Competition winner and performing as a soloist with the Philharmonic Orchestra.

As an educator, Balboa is frequently hired as a guest clinician for string methods and orchestral techniques, on faculty at the University of Texas String Project and Austin Chamber Music Center, is a member of both the American String Teachers Association and American Viola Society, and is a founding teacher for the Texas State String Project. 

Balboa is currently a doctoral student at the University of Texas where he studies with Professor Roger Myers and has earned his Master of Music degree at the University of North Texas under the tutelage of Dr. Susan Dubois and Dr. George Papich, and his Bachelor of Music degree from Texas State University-San Marcos under Dr. Ames Asbell.

Russell Cannon, cello

Russell Cannon began playing cello at the age of ten and regularly appeared in TMEA All-Region ensembles, as well as the Texas Chamber Music Institute, while studying privately with Elizabeth Morrow. He is currently an undergraduate Music Studies major at UT, where he studies cello with Bion Tsang and performs with the UT University Orchestra, UT Symphony Orchestra, and UT Lab Orchestra. Russell began teaching group lessons with UT String Project in 2015 and is a collegiate member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia.

Russell is a lover of hip-hop and classical music as well as Tex-Mex food, and is an avid Longhorn football fan.


Sabrina Uriegas, violin


Sabrina Mari Uriegas is pursuing her Bachelor of Choral Studies degree at the University of Texas at Austin. She was born and raised in the neighboring city of Round Rock, TX. She began playing the violin at the age of four, studying under Dr. Laurie Scott, and started singing in eighth grade at her church parish. She now studies voice under the direction of Dr. Cynthia Morrow. Although she may not be concentrating in the violin, Sabrina still enjoys playing and hopes to continue to perform in an orchestra. Sabrina is happy to be a part of this amazing faculty and share her love for music with her students.


Sara Aldana, violin

Sara Melissa Aldana is a junior at The University of Texas and is pursuing a degree in violin performance through the Butler School of Music. A native of Bogota, Colombia, Sara spent four years as concertmaster of the Youth Orchestra of the National University of Colombia and toured Spain with the National University of Colombia Orchestra. She has been a member of the Bogota Foundation Symphony Orchestra, the Bogota Youth Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Clara Schumann Women’s Orchestra.

In 2017 Sara won the Concerto Competition at the Butler School of Music which gave her the opportunity to perform the Barber Violin Concerto with the University of Texas Symphony Orchestra. In 2010, Sara won the Luis Angel Arango Library’s Youth Performer National Competition in Colombia. She was awarded the “Codabow Prize” in the Mary West Solo Competition in 2014. The following year, she won Grand Prize and First Place Senior Division at the Mankato Symphony Orchestra Young Artist Competition and Honorable Mention at Thursday Musical Competition. In 2016, Sara was named as a finalist for both the Schubert Club and Schmidbauer Young Artist competitions.

Throughout the years, Sara has been offered full scholarships to attend summer music
festivals that include Kent/Blossom Music Festival (2016 and 2017), Bravo! Summer String and Keyboard Institute at the University of Minnesota (2014 and 2015), Cartagena Music Festival in Colombia (2014), Sewanee Summer Music Festival at the University of the South (2013), Santa Catarina Music Festival in Brazil (2013), Campos do Jordao International Music Festival in Brazil (2012), and the first Meeting of Latin American Suzuki Students in Peru (2010).

Sara is a student of Professor Brian Lewis as the recipient of the Starling Distinguished Violinist Scholarship. She previously studied with Sally O’Reilly as part of the Pre-Conservatory Program at Shattuck-St.Mary’s School, Liz Angela Garcia at the National University of Colombia, and Marcelino Prats at the National University of Colombia.

Sara currently plays on a violin graciously loaned by the Virtu Foundation.

Sean Flynn, viola

Sean Flynn is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Viola Performance at the University of Texas – Austin under Professor Roger Myers. He previously earned a bachelor’s in Music Education at the University of Oregon while studying viola with Dr. Leslie Straka. His educational pursuits include working for the University of Oregon’s Summer Orchestra Camp as a coach and section leader, and assisting as a chamber music coach for the school’s Community Music Institute. While in Oregon, he performed in a number of professional performing groups, such as the Oregon Mozart Players, the OSU-Corvallis Symphony, and the Eugene Opera. Sean has performed in master classes for artists such as Patricia McCarty, Jessica Bodner of the Parker Quartet, and Csaba Erdelyi.

Seth Russell, cello

A native of Greenville, SC, Seth holds a Bachelor’s degree in Cello Performance and a Performer’s Certificate from the Eastman School of Music where he studied with David Ying. He rece
ived a Master’s degree in Cello Performance from New England Conservatory where he studied with Paul Katz. In Fall 2017 he will begin the Doctorate of Musical Arts program in Cello Performance at University of Texas at Austin with Bion Tsang.

Seth has a broad range of teaching experience, with ages ranging from young students to adults, and experience levels ranging from beginners to doctorate students.  

 In 2015-2016 Seth was the Visiting Assistant Professor of Cello at University of Memphis’ Rudi E Scheidt School of Music.  At UM he performed and taught with the Ceruti Quartet and lead the cello studio.  Last summer he taught at the Interlochen Arts Camp with the Abbiocco Quartet through Interlochen’s Quartet Fellowship Program. During a tour of Taiwan in 2015 with the Oceanus Quartet, Seth taught and coached students in Puli, Taichung, and Taipei, Taiwan. 

Seth has taught privately in his hometown of Greenville, SC as well as in Boston, MA.  In Boston, he also taught at the EKS Music School in Quincy, MA and at MusiConnects in Roslindale, MA. 
His quartet at New England Conservatory, the Mercury String Quartet, was chosen for the pilot “QuartetUtopia” program, in which the quartet designed a grant funded project to teach chamber music to school children in Somerville, MA.  Their work with El Sistema Somerville involved private lessons, orchestra, and chamber coachings.

Shruthi Kattumenu, violin

A native of Plano, Texas, Shruthi Kattumenu began playing the violin at the age of four with Ms. Nicolette Solomon and further continued her violin studies with Mr. Jan Mark Sloman. Recently, Shruthi received her Bachelor’s degree in Violin Performance from the Butler School of Music where she studied under Professor Brian Lewis. She is continuing her studies at The University of Texas in pursuit of a Master’s degree in Violin Performance with Professor William Fedkenheuer. During her time at The University of Texas at Austin, she has served as principal of The University of Texas Symphony Orchestra, played leadership roles as part of the Butler Opera Center and UT Lab Orchestra, and been selected to take part in the Intensive Seminar led by the Miro Quartet.

Throughout the years, she has been fortunate to study both solo and chamber music with Almita and Roland Vamos, Ko Iwasaki, Pamela Mia Paul, Frank Almond, Laurie Smukler, Cho-Liang Lin, Giora Schmidt, Sergiu Luca, and members of the Miro Quartet among others. These experiences with highly gifted performers and educators have strongly shaped Shruthi’s musical and teaching philosophy. Her methods center around communication, and how best to connect student, teacher, parent, and audience in this art form.

Outside of school, Shruthi subs in the Waco Symphony and Canton Symphony, collaborates with and premieres works by emerging composers, and teaches violin privately. She is also a faculty member of the UT String Project, where she currently teaches individual lessons, theory classes, group classes, and mixed ensemble groups.

Westin Fenton, intern


Yvonne DavilaYvonne Davila, violin

Yvonne Davila is originally from Chicago, Illinois and began Suzuki violin at the age of five. She attended DePaul University and received her B.M. in Music Business and Violin Performance under Joseph Genualdi. During that time, she had the opportunity to substitute for the Chicago Civic Orchestra. She received her M.M. in Violin Performance at UW-Madison under Vartan Manoogian. Yvonne has appeared as a soloist at the AIMS Music Festival in Solsona, Spain and at the Rural Musicians Forum in Spring Green, WI. While in WI, she was a member of the Rockford Symphony Orchestra and a substitute with The Madison Symphony Orchestra. Yvonne has served as an Adjunct Instructor at Ripon College, conducted an elementary string orchestra in McFarland, Wisconsin and established Suzuki violin studios in both Madison and Spring Green. Yvonne is currently a doctoral candidate in Music and Human Learning at The University of Texas at Austin. She is a middle school Orchestra Director in Round Rock, TX and an experienced Suzuki method violin teacher. She teaches at The University of Texas at Austin String Project, which she has also served as Preschool Coordinator and Assistant Director. She is an active clinician and has presented her work at the Suzuki of the Americas Association, American String Teacher of America conferences, and Texas Music Educators Association. Her research focuses on children’s musical development, parental education, and children’s musical achievement.